Gaudi’s early works show Arabic and Oriental influences, followed by a neo-gothic period. His architectural work was also a result of the Catalan “Modernismo” movement, a variant of Art Nouveau, which he pursued towards the latter part of his career his work developing a more organic style, reflecting forms found in nature. His output was prodigious, designing residential as well as public works including houses, cathedrals, pavilions, parks, houses, kiosks and apartments. Working closely with artisans he also designed and constructed wrought iron balconies, lamp-posts, door knobs, furniture, stained glass, ceramics and various sculptural works.
So highly regarded is his exceptional iconoclastic creativity and contribution to architecture and building technology that several of his works have achieved World Heritage status by UNSECO.
Gaudi’s engineering genius is exemplified by his use of catenary arches in Casa Batllo, La Pedrera and La Sagrada Familia cathedral to evenly distribute compressional load-bearing forces and allowing the construction of high vaulted spaces… making the use of buttresses redundant! Gaudi’s genius also shone in the way he married various geometrical forms throughout La Sagrada Familia cathedral so that formal, structural, lighting, acoustic and constructive qualities could unite in total harmony. He used hyperboloids, paraboloids, helicoids, conoids and ellipsoids. He actually invented a column previously unknown in the annals of architecture (the double twist column) using helicoids. In fact the columns of the central nave change in cross-section from square to octagonal to a circle.
I was fortunate to visit 3 of his sites, one amongst crowds of passionate admirers and interested observers:
- Casa Batllo – Barcelona (1904-1906)
- La Pedrera (“Casa Mila”) – Barcelona (1906-1912)
- La Sagrada Familia – Barcelona (1882 – perhaps 2025?)